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January 7, 2013
Pakistan returned home to a rousing welcome after winning the ODI series against archrivals India and drawing the Twenty20 series 1-1. Large throngs of people waited outside the Lahore International Airport to greet the team on their success in the historic tour.
Pakistan, after dominant performances throughout the series, came close to taking the ODI series 3-0 in Delhi. But India fought back and avoided what would have been their first whitewash since 1983-84. Pakistan, however, flourished throughout the series and were, distinctly, the better side.
"The significant part of the series was the young lot stood up to take the team's veins," Misbah said. "Throughout the series, the young and new players contributed in the victories.
"I will give credit to the whole team but there were few youngsters like [Mohammad] Irfan, Junaid [Khan] and Nasir Jamshed - who have really impressed. They have proved themselves against world's best batting line-up and have outclassed them. They have a bright future and if they continue to perform like this, they will go way forward."
Nasir Jamshed, 23, led the batting with consecutive centuries in Chennai and Kolkata and ended up as the leading run-getter in the series with 241 runs. His Man-of-the-Series-winning performance helped him climb 45 places in the ODI rankings to a career-best 31st.
"It was the great tour for me not because I have scored runs but the centuries I scored helped my team to win the matches," Jamshed said. "Riding on my current form I would like to continue the runs feast in the upcoming South Africa tour."
Mohammad Hafeez, the T20 captain, too had a magnificent series. He became the number one allrounder in ODIs following success with both bat and ball in the series.
"It was series we have been waiting desperately," Hafeez said. "The team played with full focus and proved how good we are. It's the victory of the whole nation and the highlight of the series were the trio - Irfan, Junaid and Nasir."
As the team, along with the PCB chairman, Zaka Ashraf, emerged at the arrival gates, the chants of Pakistan Zindabad (Long live Pakistan) and the beats of traditional drums resonated in the chilly winter evening. In a brief ceremony at the gates, Ashraf garlanded both the captains - Misbah-ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafez - and said that it was a special win beating India in India.
"It's a unique honor for us that we defeated India in their own country," Ashraf said. "Our team is very disciplined and organised, the way our captains have performed, I think they deserve congratulations from everyone in the country. The way they have fought in India, they deserve appreciation."
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Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge